The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a recall of Zantac and other heartburn medications that contain ranitidine due to the fact that the drug may contain N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a highly toxic food contaminant that is known to be a human carcinogen.
There is an ongoing debate over what level of exposure to NDMA is safe, or if there is any safe level of consumption for humans at all after the contaminant was used to create cancer in lab rats. This environmental contaminant is classified as a B2 carcinogen, and it is also found in grilled and smoked meats.
Even trace amounts of N-Nitrosodimethylamine have been linked to liver disease, and it has now been linked to certain types of cancers. If you’ve been using Zantac or other heartburn medications that contain ranitidine and you’ve been diagnosed with one of the following types of cancer, it may be related to NDMA.
Gastric cancers like gastrointestinal stromal tumors and gastric adenocarcinoma can cause nausea, heartburn, and indigestion. They can also cause you to feel full after you’ve only eaten a little food or to feel bloated after you eat. Gastric cancer may not have any symptoms early on, so it’s often diagnosed after it’s reached a more advanced stage.
Stomach cancer may be treated with chemotherapy or radiation. Surgical options for treatment include gastrectomy or gastroenterostomy. If the cancer is caught before it’s spread beyond the stomach, the five-year survival rate is 69%. If it has already spread to the lymph nodes, organs, and surrounding tissues, the five-year survival rate drops to 31%.
Colorectal cancers include cancer of the bowel, rectum, and colon. The symptoms of colorectal cancers can include blood in the stool, abdominal discomfort, changes in stool consistency, and changes in bowel habits. These symptoms will differ depending on where the cancer is located and the size of the tumors.
The treatment options for this type of cancer will depend on the stage. Chemotherapy and radiation may be used. Surgery to remove cancer may also be an option, including lymph node dissection and colectomy. The overall survival rate for colorectal cancer is 63%, though this will differ based on the stage the cancer is discovered and whether or not it’s spread.
Bladder cancers like urothelial carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma are typically diagnosed after patients complain to their doctors about blood in their urine. Other symptoms can include pain during urination, frequent urination, inability to pass urine lower back pain, and urinating many times during the night.
Bladder cancer may be treated with medications, radiation, and chemotherapy. It may also be treated with surgeries like a urinary diversion, ureterostomy, ureterosigmoidostomy, cystoprostatectomy, cystourethrectomy, or the removal of all or part of the bladder. The average five-year survival rate is 77%, but this also depends on the stage and whether it’s spread.
The main type of liver cancers is hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma, which affects the bile ducts. You may not experience symptoms during the early stages. As the disease progresses you may experience jaundice, chalky stools, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal swelling, and fatigue.
Liver cancer may be treated with immunotherapy, radiation, or chemotherapy. It may also be treated with surgeries like embolization or ablation. With early treatment, the five-year survival rate is 33%. If cancer has spread, the five-year survival rate drops to 11%. In the most serious cases, where cancer has spread across the body, the rate drops to 2%.
If future studies prove a stronger link between cancer in humans and exposure to NDMA, the following types of cancer may also be linked to Zantac:
- Brain cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Nasal cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Small intestine cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Throat cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Uterine cancer
At this time, the risk of cancer associated with NDMA has not been linked so strongly with the chemical that the FDA has banned Zantac altogether, but that doesn’t mean this won’t change in the future.
What to Do if You’re Diagnosed With Zantac-Related Cancer
If you use Zantac or another heartburn medication that contains ranitidine and you’ve been diagnosed with one of these cancers, you may want to consider making an appointment for a consultation with a personal injury lawyer who handles defective and dangerous drug cases.
If your loved one has passed away from cancer and they used drugs that contained ranitidine, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You can click here for more information about how to file a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one
Cancer treatments are expensive, and as anyone who has been diagnosed with this disease knows, the medical bills are just the tip of the iceberg. Cancer can cause you to miss a significant amount of work, and you may end up having to pay for medical travel for treatments. People who trust drug manufacturers with their lives deserve better.